Armenia’s Alashkert to face Celtic in Champions League group stage

Captain Artur Yedigaryan insists Alashkert can end Celtic’s hopes of reaching the Champions League group stage at the first hurdle, the BBC reports.

Brendan Rodgers and his players are in white-hot Armenia to take on the country’s champions in the opening qualifying round with temperatures likely to rise above 30C when the crucial first leg kicks off on Tuesday.

For the first time, Celtic face a marathon journey of four ties and eight matches to get to the group stage due to format changes to the competition.

Their voyage begins in Yerevan as the Scottish champions pay a maiden visit to Armenia.

Former international midfielder Yedigaryan and his team-mates believe they can end Rodgers’ bid for a third straight campaign in the competition outright.

“Celtic is a strong opponent with big history but FC Alashkert wants to go as far as possible in the Champions League” he told BBC Scotland.

“We have a good team and like to play attacking football, especially at home. We’ll be confident about this tie and do our best to bring joy to our fans.

“We always enter the pitch with belief and nothing is impossible.”

“Nowadays, many teams are close to each other with their level and many sensations can take place as has been proved before,” Yedigaryan continued.

“It’s very hot in Yerevan so it’s difficult for any visiting team, only the game will give all the answers.

“We have a good squad with new players, it’s changing very often just now but that is a normal process.

“We hope the newcomers will help us become stronger.”

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